Featuring 33 giant cans of Jim Beam, floating gently in the water at the-50 metre long outdoor swimming pool at Iceberg’s, the Barrel to Bondi TVC tells the story of how the bourbon and coke is created with care in Kentucky, U.S.A, before being flown over to Australia – the ideal place to keep it chilled.
The concept was originated by The Works, a Sydney based advertising agency, but Big Kahuna Imagineering was responsible for converting the pool into an enormous cooler complete with life- sized Jim Beam cans.
The BKI team faced a number of tricky scenarios when they were tasked with the job of creating the set and then moving these 12 foot high cans into the pool and devising a customised system to ensure they remained safe in the water. They only had a window of 12 hours to install the cans, 15 hours for the film crew to record the footage (while a client party was going on) and then the BKI team had just nine hours to de-install the entire set and refill the pool.
“Keeping the cans buoyant in the water took a lot of planning, to make sure they could cope with the conditions,” recalls Will Colhoun, Managing Director of Big Kahuna Imagineering. “So the cans were semi-floated in the water, individually placed at a kilter and were all linked together via steel arms.
“However, they were designed to have some come and go, which allowed them to move freely and accommodate the power of the waves. The system was designed so that if one can was dislodged, the others would be held in place. The whole construction could flex and bow on a can-for-can basis, while being affixed to a supple yet secure carpet grid.”
The cans were created out of polycarbonate sheets and were kept airtight to allow them to float. Using CAD modeling, 500 individual ice cubes were also heat welded together in PVC and then covered in frosty white paint, to construct a raft that was buoyed in the water to surround the cans (2,000 other fake cubes were gang-moulded and also placed into the pool).
The esky cooler itself was made with hinged wastegates on the seaward side of the pool, to absorb the power of a big wave hitting the whole structure, should it make its presence known.
A 15X18m floating board, which featured Jim Beam branded graphics, was also built outside of the esky in the pool to soak up the shocks of the sea hitting the construction.
During the 12 hours of construction, each of the cans had to be trucked in and then carried by hand down a goat track, over two balconies and into the pool floor to sit on top of its customised base.
“When we got to the pool, it was also a race against the tides,” recalls Colhoun. “To facilitate the shot required by the client and the agency, we needed to have everything in place for when the helicopter arrived, while also taking into account a client launch on the second balcony, the cafe opening hours and the local residences’ sleep disturbances. Over 20 deliveries and 20 dispatches were made in total, using 6-tonne trucks, to get the equipment in place on time.
“The process involved over 120 legs and ams racing up and down the goat track from the road to the ocean pool floor – safely at night.
One of the biggest challenges for Big Kahuna Imagineering involved making the esky match the scale of the pool, while still ensuring it could work practically and look the right colour.
Despite the unorthodox challenges involved in creating this enormous practical effect in just five weeks, the team at Big Kahuna loved every minute of the project. Big Kahuna thrives off being pushed to the limit to build memorable constructions. As a result, their work has provided visitors to Bondi with a unique opportunity to witness a once in a life-time installation.